general election 2015

Here’s how Australia’s Labor leader triumphed over a hostile media and avoided the fate of Ed Miliband

First published on LabourList

A picture of Ed Miliband appears on the wall in the Australian Labor party campaign headquarters. Above the sign reads “don’t be them”. United Kingdom Labour’s high expectations and crushing defeat in 2015 had huge implications for social democrats the world over. No more so for our older sister party down under. At the time they knew a general election was due within 18 months and that while they were up against an unpopular Tory party that had just suffered a big defeat. Yet the whole party had been entangled in a huge personality battle between the previous government’s biggest figures. Sound familiar?

So why have the ALP turned their fortunes around so quickly and brought themselves to the brink of government in less than three years of opposition? (more…)

Remembering Jo Cox

First published on ProgressOnline

You don’t have to be close to a star to know it shines bright. Jo Cox was a star in Labour’s bleak sky. Her personality bubbled, her generosity was unending, she was a loving wife and brilliant mother. Her slight and five-foot-nothing figure contained a giant in the making. She spoke in the chamber with authority, with her colleagues in a spirit of collaboration, and with Labour supporters in a way they could connect with.

I judge my politicians on this standard: do they say things I wish I had thought first? Jo never disappointed. I know her colleagues and constituents agree. There is a tendency from some – new MPs included – to keep your head down and go with the flow. As she spoke on Syria, women’s rights and for her constituents, Jo did nothing of the sort. Instead she led her colleagues in debate and laughed with them in the bars. This combination of brilliance and generosity is why she got so much done in just 405 days in parliament; rarely alone but in coalitions, Jo so often leading the pack. (more…)

Progress annual conference 2016: Straight talking, honest politics

Venue: Main Hall, Congress Centre, 23-28 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3LS
Date and time: 14 May 2016, 10am

Progress director Richard Angell addresses Progress annual conference.

You can find more content like this at: progressonline.org.uk

Watch the speech here:

(more…)

Paying the price

First published in Progress magazine

Never again should Labour play fast and loose with working people’s lives

The Labour party is full of idealists; it is one of the things I like about it most. But its ability to wish the situation to be better than it is sometimes has no bounds. Ed Miliband’s Labour party had this in abundance. Central to all this was one assumption: that the economic crash had moved the centre-ground to the left; that, because markets had failed, people’s trust in an all-powerful state had been restored. There was almost no grounding for this theory, other than wishing it so. The very reason Labour was in opposition was because the voters, following the crash, had replaced Labour with David Cameron’s pro-austerity Conservative party. No incumbent centre-left party in office since the crash has been re-elected across Europe, yet the centre-right in Germany and elsewhere has been. France was the only place the left was winning, but that has hardly gone to plan or been a model for British social democracy. (more…)

Labour has to give people something to hope for, not just offer despair

Labour’s latest party political broadcast is well-made, moving – but politically, a repeat of the old failed strategy. 

First published on the Staggers

The latest Labour party political broadcast is well-made and clear in its message. It is, in fact, the video Ed Miliband should have released. It is a brilliant manifestation of the 35 per cent strategy: if you hate the Tories or are hard done to by the Tories, vote Labour. It is better than much of what Miliband put out over the last five years, and it gives a personal touch to what Labour was putting in press releases. (more…)

rhubarbTV: Head To Tozer

Episode 2 of Head To Tozer is here! Watch Ben Tozer interview the director of Progress – Labour’s progressives, Richard Angell.

About rhubarbTV

We are rhubarbTV. It’s an acronym. Royal Holloway’s Unique Broadcasting and Recording Brand. And that is exactly what we do, broadcast and record. We aim to cover an array of events both on and off campus in order for clubs and societies to reach a stronger audience with what it is that they do.

The mountain to climb: how does Labour win in the 2020s?

At the Fabian New Year Conference 2016 titled ‘Facing the Future‘ I was asked to join a panel of excellent speakers to debate and take questions on how Labour wins in 2016.

Saturday 16 January 2016, 9.15am-5pm
Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

The mountain to climb: how does Labour win in the 2020s?
Richard Angell (director, Progress), Ellie Mae O’Hagan (journalist), James Morris (partner, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research), Olivia Bailey (research director, Fabian Society), Chair: George Eaton (political editor, New Statesman)

‘London’s shop steward’

First published in Progress magazine

The soon-to-be mayor of London Sadiq Khan talks to Richard Angell and Adam Harrison, and he is hungry for new powers

We lost to everyone, everywhere’, says Sadiq Khan, quoting his friend and colleague Jon Cruddas, Labour’s former policy chief speaking on the party’s defeat last May. Scotland was a wipeout, few marginal seats were won, and the Tories even took the constituency of Gower for the first time ever. In another first, Labour lost to the Tories among Sikh and Hindu communities, and in every age category over 44. There is one exception: the capital city. In London, Labour polled 300,000 more votes than the Tories. This should be more than enough to propel the son of a bus driver into city hall this May.

Khan, however, is not complacent. His office is a hive of activity. We struggle to find a quiet spot to huddle as meeting rooms are filled with campaigning briefings and organiser training, and the phones are ringing off the hook. Karen Buck, a long-time ally of Khan and winner against the odds in hyper-marginal Westminster North, is meeting with councillor and housing lead James Murray, who splits his time between Islington town hall, the leader’s office and the mayoral campaign. The staff make up the rich diversity of Labour’s political family – everyone from ardent Corbynista to ‘redeployed’ former Michael Dugher adviser. The whole Labour family has jumped behind the member of parliament for Tooting. (more…)

The tests to unleash the aspirational offer

aspiration codeFirst published in Anticipations, the Young Fabian journal | Volume 18, Issue 4 | Summer 2015

The election result was categorical from the voters and harsh to the Labour party. Hate the Tories, as we do, there is no denying that David Cameron and George Osborne received two million more votes than Ed Miliband and Ed Balls. The latter even lost his seat. Miliband resigned from the leadership.

While many try to complicate the problem and spread round the blame one truism confronts Labour: no party has ever won an election behind on leadership and behind on economic competence. Sort one and Labour is back in the running. Sort both and we are winning. But how?

The post-election debate within Labour focused on ‘aspiration’. Labour must appeal to those not likely to pay the mansion tax and unlikely to be on zero hour contracts. Middle incomes, middle classes, middle England, however you want to put it. Aspiration is the key.  (more…)